Preparation Is The Key To The Months Ahead

Hi, my name is Vincent. I am a Horticulturist and this is my profession as well as landscaping. I have been doing this type of work for man-years now and can honestly say I never get bored of my job, there are different aspects to gardening so everyday there is always something new to look forward too and do. I do all aspects of landscaping works from the design of the garden to the physical completion of the design.  There is a great sense of satisfaction when you have a design in your head and then apply it to the land. If you have any queries on the services i provide as in garden maintenance, or landscape design/works, you can contact me by email gardener@live.ie
Each month I will be writing an article on gardening, and hopefully you will pick up some tips along the way, if you have a question please send me an email and I will answer as many questions as possible by email as well as publishing some of the questions with an answer and hopefully this will benefit other readers too!!
I will try and give you a few ideas on what might needs to be done in your garden, not everything in this article will apply to your garden, but hopefully you will pick up a few tips, if not in this article maybe next month.
Lawns & Hedges
January is always a month when Ireland seems to have more colder conditions, with frost/snow, so avoid walking over frosted lawns as the pressure damages the grass, causing it to go brown or even die. Now is a great time to get the mower cleaned up and ready to use for when the lawn starts to grow again. Just a general clean around the wheels, and around where any grass maybe lodged, of course the rotary blade needs a sharpening too to keep an even cut to the lawn so best to let a professional do this and won’t cost a whole lot.
Flower Garden

Check recently planted shrubs/trees after any high winds, or hard frost, make sure there support and ties are secure, and re-heel any plants that have been lifted due to high winds. Brush off any snow that may have fallen, particularly evergreen shrubs as the weight can damage the dense growth. Still plant bare root plants if the ground is not too hard due to frost, if frost is forecast, then protect venerable plants with horticultural fleece, which can be got in any good garden centre. it is still not too late for spring bulb planting, so get going on that asap.
Water Garden

Net cover ponds to keep out fallen leaves, if the leaves blow into the pond they will rot and pollute the water. protect fish if any from predators insuring the netting is secured and buried all around the pond.reduce the food quantity for fish as the temperatures drop, they’ll live on there reserves.. transplant tender aquatic plants to a frost free place for the winter, water pumps can be taken out of the ponds now cleaned and put into a dry place for the winter. Thin oxygenating plants, to do this cut out surplus growth leave the cuttings by the water so the water creatures can go back into the water.
Vegetable/Fruit garden
Start planning on next years crop rotation, create a seed bed early in the winter and use a plastic sheeting to cover the area this in turn will warm the soil for early crops, keep weed seedlings at bay, if you have goose berries or Autumn – fruiting berries the canes can be pruned to 2-3in. winter pruning can start now, cut back any dead, damaged, diseased wood to healthy live wood, for those of you who have apple trees wait until Feb for pruning when they are completely dormant.

So in general preparation is the key to the months ahead, so since there is not a whole lot to do in this bad weather start getting your tools for the garden sharpened and cleaned, or maybe take a trip to a DIY /garden store and browse around you may find some handy new tools to make life a little easier in the garden..

In next months article I will be talking about winter pruning, preparing a vegetable plot & what vegetables to start planting, ideas for hanging baskets/ pots/containers for spring colour, transplanting, and more….
Until then,
A farmer purchased an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a thriving enterprise. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down.  During his first day of work, the town preacher stops by to bless the man’s work, saying, “May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!”   A few months later, the preacher stops by again to call on the farmer.  Lo and behold, it’s a completely different place.  The farm house is completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there is plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows.  “Amazing!” the preacher says. “Look what God and you have accomplished together!”  “Yes, reverend,” says the farmer, “but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone!”

A Garden Man